'Leeds is a place I will forever call home': Leeds United favourite Stuart Dallas announces retirement and thanks Marcelo Bielsa among others

LEEDS UNITED midfielder Stuart Dallas has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 32.

The Northern Ireland international, a hugely popular player and dressing-room figure during his time at Elland Road, has been sidelined suffering a femoral fracture during the Premier League game against Manchester City almost two years ago on April 30, 2022.

Despite the best efforts of Dallas to return to the first-team fold, which has seen him work extensively alongside medical and rehabilitation staff at Thorp Arch after embarking on the long road to recovery following surgery, he has been unable to make a return to playing and has now taken the decision to retire.

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Cookstown-born Dallas, moved to Leeds in August 2015 from Brentford, joining up with his ex-Bees manager Uwe Rosler.

Leeds United favourite Stuart Dallas, who has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2023-24 campaign. Picture: Getty.Leeds United favourite Stuart Dallas, who has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2023-24 campaign. Picture: Getty.
Leeds United favourite Stuart Dallas, who has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2023-24 campaign. Picture: Getty.

He made his United debut in the 1-1 Championship draw with Burnley at Elland Road and made over 250 appearances for United where he thrived during the Marcelo Bielsa era in particular.

During his time at Leeds, Dallas, who showed his versatility on either side as a winger, at left-back, right-back and centre midfield, was also a vital cog for Northern Ireland and helped them secure a place at first ever European Championships and participate in their first major championship in 30 years at Euro 2016.

Penning an open letter to announce his retirement, Dallas wrote: “Today, with a heavy heart, I announce that I will be retiring from professional football.

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"Over the past two years, the Leeds United medical team have worked tirelessly to help me recover from the injury I sustained in the game against Manchester City in 2022.

"Sadly, despite their best efforts, and my body not progressing how we need it to, I must now accept the fact that my knee suffered irreparable damage and I will not be returning to play professional football. I am of course devastated by this news.

"As a young boy growing up in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, all I ever wanted was to play professional football and I will be eternally grateful that for me, that dream came true.

"This may not be how fairytales are supposed to end, but I must now deal with the fact that this chapter of my life is drawing to a close.

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"I’ve been fortunate to work with some outstanding managers, but two in particular I want to pay special thanks to are Marcelo Bielsa and Michael O’Neill. Marcelo’s incredible coaching helped me improve not just as a player, but as a person off the pitch too.

"Premier League football seemed a million miles away at times, but he made this all possible. These were simply the greatest years of my career and I created memories that I’ll cherish forever.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the staff, management and medical team at Leeds United for their outstanding support during some dark days. I truly believe we have the greatest medical team around and special thanks must go to Rob Price, Henry McStay and Ruben Crespo who have worked around the clock to give me the best medical attention that I have needed.

"To my team mates over the years, nationally and domestically, there are too many to mention but you know who you are, friends for life.

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"A special mention must go to Liam Cooper, who I’ve been with since I first walked through the doors at Thorp Arch many years ago. An incredible captain, team mate, friend and player whose talent and contribution to the team often goes unrecognised.

"The man is truly a wonderful human.

"My final thanks must go to you, the Leeds United fans. Your passion and love for this team and city is what makes Leeds so special. You really are the 12th man.

"Leeds United is now well and truly in my blood, I have memories that will remain with me forever and I look forward to joining you in the stands as Daniel Farke and the team aim to take us back to the Premier League and beyond.

"Leeds is a place I will call home forever.”

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